One of the newest recruits to the Army Reserve’s 165 Port & Maritime Regiment at Derriford is a 21-year-old retail assistant at the Primark store in Plymouth city centre.
Private Rebecca Clark is already looking forward to training on the JCB forklifts and loaders needed for the unit’s port operating role.
But first the Army will be helping her to pass her Category B (car) driving test. After that Rebecca can train with the Regiment for a Category C licence to drive a wider range of vehicles. The biggest is a mobile crane able to lift loads of 32 tonnes.
She recently spent a weekend with a dozen other members of 165 Regiment helping to clear and renovate a disused helicopter landing site at Falmouth Docks. It included a taster session at the controls of a JCB ‘rough terrain’ grader vehicle.
“It’s certainly something to talk about at work on a Monday morning,” said Rebecca, who is attached to 265 Port Squadron, which trains on Wednesday evenings at the newly refurbished Derriford Army Reserve Centre in Brest Road.
Both her mum and dad were in the Army Reserve so she had a better idea than most recruits of what to expect.
“I want to better myself, to get out there and do things. The attraction for me is having a second career, with all the opportunities that the Army Reserve offers.”
For the exercise at Falmouth Docks, members of 265 Squadron joined Bodmin-based 232 Squadron in transferring and grading 20 tonnes of aggregate to create a helipad that can accommodate Royal Navy Merlin helicopters on training flights.
It provided vital training for the Regiment’s specialist role within the Royal Logistic Corps. That includes preparing beaches to bring stores ashore where no established port exists.
They also train as Seamen and Marine Engineers to pilot and maintain a fleet of inshore vessels such as Landing Ships (Logistics) and Mexeflote powered rafts.
The weekend’s work also benefited the port owners, A&P, who have a contract to provide facilities for vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – the Royal Navy’s ‘cargo ships’. A&P has signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant as supportive employers to Reservist and ex-Regulars and their families.”
For more information, go to the 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC page on Facebook.